In a key debate on the European Semester this morning in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer questioned the logic behind this policy mechanism.
“EU crisis management is hitting the poor and the vulnerable hardest,” she said. “Drastic intervention in pension systems have been made: in Portugal, pensions have fallen by 300 to 400 euros per month. In Latvia, the average pension level is below the subsistence level of 240 euros. In Spain, cuts of € 33 million to pensions are foreseen for the near future.”
President Zimmer continued: “Economic governance coordination must guarantee people's fundamental rights in crisis management policies, ensure Parliament's voice is heard and aim for a real reduction of macroeconomic imbalances.”
The European Semester is a yearly cycle in which the Commission analyses the fiscal and structural reform policies of every member state, provides recommendations, and monitors their implementation.
GUE/NGL MEP Marisa Matias said: “Greek Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas and President Barroso speak of a 'turnaround' that has been achieved. There's been a turnaround alright: a reversal that involves the EU institutions imposing low wages, precarity, the dismantling of public services, and rising unemployment. Social achievements won over recent decades are being revoked. We have a terrible situation in countries like Greece, it is quite clear that these programmes have failed. EU leaders say they need to balance the books but all they are doing is failing people.”
GUE/NGL MEP Inês Zuber commented: “If we stubbornly stick to recessionary policies we will never solve the unemployment problem. How does President Barroso think that we can create jobs by lowering wages and promoting redundancies? Impoverishing people only decreases revenue from tax. All these policies are part of a deliberate plan to accumulate income among financial elites. Workers fight daily against austerity policies but it seems that the majority of MEPs in this house are not interested.”
GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
David Lundy +32 473 84 23 09
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group